Live chat support is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to make a more personal connection with customers. It lets support teams anticipate questions and offer assistance when and where customers need it, helps boost eCommerce sales, and lowers customer wait time.
Let’s define the unique ways in which live chat support contributes to a better customer service experience, and why one support leader nominates it to win the most authentic 1:1 support channel.
What is live chat support?
Live chat is a conversational, synchronous 1:1 customer support channel, which takes a couple of forms. It can be a proactive chat window that pops up as customers navigate through an eCommerce website—think of the last time you were browsing a website, whether it was for a bike or shoes, and a chat window popped up asking if you need assistance. Clicking on it would link you to a live agent.
Customers can also initiate a live chat when they’re in need. For example, maybe you can recall a time you were browsing your finances online and realized you needed to address some funny business in your account. A well-placed button would take you to the same channel to connect 1:1 with an agent.
Why live chat support is better for customers
When it’s available to them, more customers are saying “yes” to chat, choosing it more often than they did a few years ago. The immediacy of a message or live chat has raised customers’ expectations for speedy responses over email; according to the CX Trends Report, 28 percent of people expect a reply on chat in under five minutes.
Since options to open a live chat window are often strategically positioned throughout a website, it can be a fast and effective way for customers to initiate a support interaction without navigating away from whatever they were doing, thereby preserving their experience. Another bonus is the fact that it offers privacy in plain sight; live chat can come in handy for personal issues like banking or medical concerns that might need addressing in the middle of the workday, especially since many customers are already familiar with typing in desktop messaging apps.
Why live chat support is better for business
There are also a ton of business benefits for adding live chat into the support mix. Whatever the reason for taking the leap, it should be driven by a company’s bigger business goals. That means, at minimum, internal agreement on why the company is using live chat to begin with. Some business goals might include helping the company scale customer support operations; better meet service level agreements for customers, such as reducing wait time or first-reply time; proactively solving customer issues before they arise, or reducing the rate of abandoned shopping carts on ecommerce sites.
Live chat best practices
That’s the “why” of live chat support for customers and businesses—let’s dive into the how with 2 of the most important live chat best practices.
Optimize the user experience by considering live chat location, access, and timing on your website. When considered together, a company can strike a balance between being proactive with users who might need assistance, and the need to remain unobtrusive so their experience doesn’t suffer as a result of chat popups.
Live chat software also provides an opportunity to tap into that additional layer of data about customers. While it varies by platform, live chat typically delivers several contextual data points about the customers’ journey, including: the URL on which the customer was immediately before the chat started, the customer’s operating system and device, the time they’ve spent on the site, the number of visits, and the number of chats they’ve had with the company in the past. Transcripts of previous chats are especially helpful, since he often reviews them to get caught up on an issue before diving in with a return customer.
Chat Support Conclusion
Live chat support has a lot going for it. It’s authentic and conversational. It pops up when or even before a customer needs help. Chat support plays nicely with other channels, such as self-service, and gives agents the ability to dig deep into an issue—all of which make it a must-have for any scaling customer support operation.